Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Geist: Der Ungeist (2012)

Israeli Germanophiles

It seems like Israeli doom-specialty label TotalRust is gradually becoming a black metal-specialty label. Der Ungeist, the debut album of one-man Israeli black metal Geist, is just one more step in that evolution.

The prospect of one-man black metal is probably not terribly enticing to very many of you. There are so many things that can go wrong, and usually do. But thankfully, none of that has happened here. Firstly, it actually sounds like a full band playing live. Secondly, it sounds like they were recorded decently. You know, not like it was done in a legitimate studio or anything, but it’s not like it was done with a cassette recorder either. He’s obviously paid attention to each instrument, instead of relegating one to an afterthought. Also, it’s clear he hasn’t fallen in love with his own non-existent legend like so many solo acts, because the music continues to go somewhere and the record ends after 35 minutes. So I’m glad I could allay those fears for you.

When in high-pitched tremolo picking mode, the guitar tone is reminiscent of Nargaroth and Belkètre, though heavier. Like Nargaroth, it sometimes sounds like 8-bit video game music getting fucked by the Devil, so that’s cool. The distorted bass is a dash of Venom, the vocals are growled, and the drums sound like drums (all too rare these days). Geist often slows things down, so you can hear some atmospheric noises poking in. There’s also the occasional doomy stomp (check “Der Wald”). Because of the tempo and rhythm dynamics, and the melody, you can actually remember the songs and tell them apart. I could do without the last couple minutes of garbage noises at the end, but thankfully they’re at the end. Just shut it off at that point.

Thematically, I’m not sure what to think of an Israeli band with Germanophilia and a song titled “Northern Pride.” If you actually care about such things you might want to research that first. For the rest of you, Der Ungeist is one of the most interesting underground black metal albums I’ve heard this year, staying true while not being too true, if you know what I mean.

The Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 stars


1 comment:

  1. You really hit what I was thinking. The whole "Northern Pride" thing was a bit offputting. I really liked the album art and I was hoping the music would reflect that kind of uncomfortable abstractness/urban feeling- but I don't think it did.

    Check out my review if you have a second.